Shantae: Half-Genie Hero will be the fourth title in WayForward’s original Shantae series and the first to arrive on several different video game consoles. Half-Genie Hero will mark a shift in the series from the original handheld trilogy into a subsequent new storyline taking place after the conclusion of the third game, Pirate’s Curse.
This eagerly-anticipated HD entry in the expanding Shantae catalog will offer plenty of 2D action and platforming in the mold of prior titles Shantae and Risky’s Revenge. Our heroine will be able to traverse Sequin Land with her usual cadre of talents, including whipping her hair to smash foes and solve puzzles as well as belly-dancing to transform into a range of animal forms that supply an arsenal of agile or destructive maneuvers to expand her explorations. The game aims to deliver a larger Shantae adventure crafted with a familiar approach toward smart level design and enjoyable chatter with the quirky folks Shantae's bound to meet (or meet again!).
On the 4th of September, 2013, WayForward launched a Kickstarter campaign for their first HD entry in the Shantae series, Half-Genie Hero. Far from being a routine handheld exclusive, HGH was angling to debut on several different platforms if funded: Steam (PC), PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, Wii U, and finally PlayStation Vita and Vita TV. Alongside a pre-production overview for the title, WayForward constructed a rewards hierarchy for the project’s backers ranging from a $15 download of the title to a $10,000 extravaganza replete with in-game cameos and physical goodies – including an astronomically rare sealed copy of the original Shantae for Game Boy Color. The WayForward team expounded upon their passion project in daily updates and communicated with their fans and backers at a near-unprecedented volume during this span of time, interacting across the Internet through major social media venues all the way down to enlightening interviews for smaller video game blogs. Once the kickstarter succeeded to meet its initial goal of $400,000 two-thirds of the way into the 30-day campaign, focus shifted toward the potential reaching of stretch goals, beginning with the funding of a playable Risky Boots mode at half a million dollars. WayForward also opened the project up to PayPal donations at this time, further increasing the likelihood of raising enough funding to implement additional stretch goals into the final product, which has been tentatively set to release in Q4 2014.
Although the 30-day kickstarter period had concluded, interested gamers could still donate via PayPal to the project and, consequently, will receive the exact same rewards as the Kickstarter backers would at identical tiers. First and foremost, all PayPal pledges of at least $15 will receive, just as the Kickstarter backers would receive, three exclusive in-game rewards: an alternate blue outfit for Shantae in her main story campaign, an alternate classic-style outfit for Risky Boots in her separate campaign, and (also for Risky's campaign) a weapon called the Drifter Blade from the upcoming indie title Hyper Light Drifter. Beyond that, most reward tiers stack cumulatively. Below was a list of those selectable tiers:
$5 – Desktop wallpapers
$15 – Download of Half-Genie hero for your choice of platform [includes $5 tier]
$25 – Digital soundtrack w/ exclusive bonus tracks [includes $15 tier]
$35 – Digital art book w/ concepts, sketches, and bios [includes $25 tier]
$45 – Early access to HGH (Steam version only) [includes $35 tier]
$55 – Backer-exclusive Tinkerbat transformation [includes $45 tier]
$60 – Contributor credit and voting privileges [includes $55 tier]
$75 – Soundtrack CD w/ exclusive cover art and song [includes $60 tier]
$90 – Commemorative Shantae + Risky coin [includes $75 tier]
$110 – Shantae T-shirt [includes $90 tier]
$150 – 3D Lenticular wall poster [includes $110 tier]
$200 – Hardcover art + flip book [includes $150 tier]
Below are a selection of Tiers that were limited to the Kickstarter Period Only.
$350 – Submit WayForward fanart to be featured in-game [includes $200 tier]
$500 – Personalized sketch by Shantae creator Matt Bozon [includes $200 tier]
$1,000 – Design an enemy for the game [includes $200 tier]
$2,500 – Submit facial photo to ‘become’ an NPC [includes $200 tier]
$5,000 – Invitation to WayFoward HGH wrap party [includes $200 tier]
$10,000 – Sealed copy of Shantae GBC [includes ALL prior tiers]
Shantae and Mighty No. 9
Fortunately, Shantae did not tread her Kickstarter path alone! Joining her in her quest to receive funding for a stylish new HD game was Beck, the star of Comcept's upcoming title Mighty No. 9, Keiji Inafune's spiritual successor to his beloved Mega Man series. The Mighty No. 9 kickstarter launched a mere three days before Shantae's own kickstarter for Half-Genie Hero, and it came to light during the progression of both that Mega Man Zero studio Inti Creates would be supplying artwork for both Shantae: Half-Genie Hero and its predecessor, the nearly-completed 3DS title Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. Both WayForward and Comcept promoted each other throughout their campaigns, and several thousand fans gladly chose to support both projects.
Shantae and Hyper Light Drifter
WayFoward and Heart Machine also teamed up for their respective Kickstaters to overlap a Crossover with Risky Boots and the Drifter from the game, Hyper Light Drifter. Both games will contain exclusive cross-over content. In Half Genie Hero, during Risky Boot's campaign, she will meet the Drifter and be able to take on a quest to receive a special sword, "The Drifter Sword" and in Hyper Light Drifter, a costume change for the main Drifter character made to look like Risky Boots is available as an in-game bonus quest!
Awakened at her lighthouse one misty night, the half-genie Shantae ventures out into the city she guards, Scuttle Town, only to stumble across a trapdoor leading to a vast, cavernous expanse below the ground. Upon reaching a mystical fountain deep within the cavern, she finds herself whisked away to the realm of the genies themselves, where she becomes aware of a malevolent force struggling to break out into the world at large. A roar tears through the chamber; Shantae whites out in shock! – only to bolt upright, safely back in her bed at home and unsure about the events she dreamed…or, perhaps, foresaw…